Following Top Commander's Assassination, Hamas Cracks Down on Suspected Israeli Collaborators in Gaza

The group did not say whether the arrests were linked to the recent assassination of senior Hamas militant Mazen Fuqha

Palestinian members of Hamas security forces stand at a security checkpoint in Gaza City on April 5, 2017.

The Hamas Interior Ministry released a statement Tuesday morning stating that the organization had arrested more people on suspicion of collaborating with Israel. According to Hamas spokesman Iyad al-Bazam, more collaborators who had been convicted for collaborating with Israeli intelligence would face execution in the near future.

While the statement did not explicitly link the latest arrests to the recent assassination of senior Hamas militant Mazen Fuqha in Gaza, reports in local media claimed that the investigation had been completed and its findings passed on to Hamas leader Yahya Sanwar.

The Interior Ministry did not confirm whether the investigation had yet been completed.

While Fuqha's father expressed satisfaction the news of the investigation's completion and the arrests of possible suspects, he stressed that the information he received was from local media reports and not from official Hamas sources.

Since Fuqha's assassination Hamas security forces have carried out a wave of arrests against those they suspect of collaborating with Israel. Following the execution of three suspected collaborators last week, Hamas launched a public campaign to encourage collaborators to give themselves up voluntarily in exchange for amnesty.

The Al-Majid website, a source close to the Hamas, reported Monday that a number of collaborators had already turned themselves in as part of the amnesty. The website report noted that those who had come forward had cut off contact with their Israeli handlers for fear of pressure that may be exerted in order to persuade them not to surrender.

Israel has denied any part in the assassination. In an interview with newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed that the assassination was an inside job